It has been almost two decades when we were first introduced to Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara wine county California from the acclaimed movie “Sideways”. We have since made dozens of road trips to vineyards in Central California coast. Pinot Noir has become one of our beloved red wine to pair with many memorable dinners with family and friends.
What is Pinot Noir?
It is a thin-skin grape variety. It generally produces a medium-bodied red wine – less forbiddingly tannic than Cabernet Sauvignon does.
You might like to read our article on: The bold full-bodied red wine – Cabernet Sauvignon.
Where is the origin of Pinot Noir?
It’s of French origin in Burgundy and Champagne, France.
What is the meaning of Pinot Noir?
Let me show you a picture of Pinot Noir grapes – does the grape cluster resemble the shape of a pine cone?
You’ve guessed it – Pinot Noir means black pine cone in French. (Pinot originated from the French word for “pine cone”, and noir means black in French).
Where are the growing regions for Pinot Noir?
Besides growing in the Burgundy and Champagne regions in France, other growing regions include Germany, Switzerland, Oregon and California states in US, New Zealand, Chile and Spain.
Is Pinot Noir difficult to grow?
Yes, it’s one of the most difficult grapes to grow – and it’s difficult to vinify too. However, many grape growers and wine producers across the globe are attracted to this temperamental grape variety.
From California to Spain, so many growers are trying hard to match the classic style of Pinot Noir – Burgundy’s greatest red wine.
Is Pinot Noir a Champagne grape?
Pinot Noir plays an important role in the traditional production of champagne and other sparkling wines. It’s used to add depth to the character of Chardonnay grapes. And pink hue to the rosé wine and Spanish cava.
Is Pinot Noir sweet or dry?
It is a dry red wine with lighter body than Cabernet Sauvignon.
What does Pinot Noir wine taste like?
Depending on its age and its growing region, a pinot noir will have varied nuances of characteristics and tasting notes of a bottle of great red wine.
Its characters include elegance, complex and less structure than a Cabernet Sauvignon. Many of our fellow wine enthusiasts rank it as the smoothest red wine to drink.
In terms of tasting notes:
- In youth, it can possess fruity aromas of raspberry, strawberry, red currant or cheery.
- An aged Pinot Noir sometimes has spicy note of nutmegs.
- In parts of California, it may also carry a faint note of sandalwood.
How much is a bottle of good Pinot Noir?
A good bottle of Pinot Noir from Burgundy France costs from $100 to $300. There are some great vintages from the west coast in the United States, California and Oregon that priced under $30.
We like a reasonably priced (under $100) Domaine Chevillon Chezeaux Pinot Noir from Burgundy – it offers an elegant medium-bodied with black cheery note.
If you like a more structure Pinot Noir, seek out a bottle for Willamette Valley, Oregon – it offers expressive raspberry note and well-balanced tannins.
If you’re opened to try a tri-appellation Pinot Noir with grapes from Santa Barbara county, Sonoma county and Monterey county, it can deliver an beautiful medium-bodied with cherry notes for under $30.
What food goes well with Pinot Noir?
We like grilled or baked fish with a lush Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir also pairs well with food with umami flavor like soy sauce or ginger notes.
You might like to read our article on: wine paring with grilled Salmon with miso-ginger sauce.
What is a good serving temperature for Pinot Noir?
Don’t serve Pinot Noir too cold – keep it around 62° Fahrenheit or 17° Celsius. You want the proper temperature to show case its aromatic bouquets including fruity notes and its delicate character.
Can you refrigerate Pinot Noir after opening?
Yes, you can – keep an opened bottle of Pinot Noir in a wine refrigerator for two to three days. Make sure you use a proper wine stopper to re-seal your opened wine bottle.
You might like to read our article on: How to store an opened bottle of wine.
Why is Pinot Noir so special? Because 1. It’s a challenge to grow and equally-difficult to produce, 2. It tastes elegant and yet complex, 3. It pairs well with meaty fish, and dishes with umami flavor, 4. It’s the most agreeable wine by both red and white wine lovers, 5. It’s also a key grape component in the production of Sparkling wine.